Pastor James J. Barker

Text: JOHN 1:1-13


  1. There are seven wonderful titles for the Lord Jesus Christ in this opening chapter of the Gospel of John.
    1. The Word (1:1,14)
    2. The Light (1:5-9)
    3. The Lamb of God (1:29,36)
    4. The Son of God (1:34,49)
    5. The Christ or Messiah (1:41)
    6. The King of Israel (1:49)
    7. The Son of Man (1:51).
  1. Today, I would like for us to focus in on the second title, "the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world" (1:9).
  2. An interesting study is to go through the Gospel of John and see how often our Lord is referred to as "the Light."
  3. For example, in John 8:12, our Lord claimed to be "the light of the world." This statement was met with stubborn resistance (8:13). And it is still that way today. I will be preaching primarily from the Gospel of John, chapter 1, and my outline is very simple:




    1. John’s Gospel starts off by introducing the Lord Jesus Christ with three tremendous statements:

"In the beginning was the Word,"
"And the Word was with God,"
"And the Word was God."

    1. This is a clear affirmation of the deity of Christ, as is verse 3, which declares that Jesus Christ created "all things." Only God has created "all things."
    2. Moving along, we come to verse 4 – in Christ "was life" – John is speaking here of eternal life, one of the major themes of his Gospel.
    3. "And the life was the light of men" (1:4). The entrance of sin brought darkness to the minds of men. It plunged the world into darkness in the sense that men in general neither knew God nor wanted to know Him (1:5).
    4. Darkness in the Bible refers to the realm of spiritual evil, the state of the world under Satan’s sway since the fall of Adam and Eve.
    5. John says "and the darkness comprehended it not" (1:5). Have you ever tried explaining spiritual things to an unsaved person and he or she looked at you with a blank expression?
    6. There may be some unconverted people among us today who cannot grasp spiritual things. You can excited over your work or a ball game or fishing and hunting or golf or some other hobby – but the things of God mean little to you – "and the darkness comprehended it not" (1:5).
    7. I was reading about that young teacher from Taft High School (where Bro. Kenny Kern used to teach) who was murdered few months ago. One article spoke about his father’s interest in Christianity. They ran a quote from the father where he said that he admired the humility of Christ and tried to emulate him.
    8. But unfortunately, he missed the part about the atonement of Christ and His shed blood on the cross. So there was no repentance from sin and no conversion – "and the darkness comprehended it not."
    9. And he went on to become the CEO of Time-Warner, a company responsible for much of the filth on television and in the movies, cable TV, rock music, and so on.
    10. He made his millions of dollars and now his son is dead. He could have received Christ as his Lord and Saviour. Jesus said: "Take up thy cross and follow me." But that would have meant giving up his wealth and glamorous job – it would have been too much for him to give up.
    11. He could have taught his son about Christ, but he did not, he could not. Because he himself could not comprehend the light. And now his son went off into eternity, lost and without Christ.
    12. The great preacher G. Campbell Morgan said: "Darkness, only a word; but a word recognizing all human failure."
    13. Proverbs 4:19 says, "The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble."
    14. Ecclesiastes 2:14 says that "the fool walketh in darkness."
    15. This horrible darkness, this spiritual darkness, has persisted all throughout human history.
    16. There is darkness in the religious mind, which leads otherwise intelligent people to embrace superstition and bizarre teachings, to worship statues, icons and other idols, to join weird cults, and to even commit suicide if their cult leader wants.
    17. There is darkness in the philosophical mind, which leads men into all sorts of foolishness and unbelief – humanism, existentialism, liberalism, and so on.
    18. There is darkness in the scientific mind, resulting in the propagation of evolution, which has led men further and further away from God.
    19. There is darkness in the carnal mind, which is at enmity with God and which is obsessed with the lusts of the flesh.
    20. Satan’s goal is to completely cover this world in darkness. It will seem to many that he will succeed during the coming tribulation when the antichrist will rule the world. But thank God the Lord is coming back!
    21. In the meantime, there will continue to be this battle between darkness and light (cf. John 3:19-21; 12:35; Col.1:13). Have you been delivered from the power of darkness? Have you seen the light?
    22. John 1:9 says: "That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." The Light was revealed!



    1. Not only was the light revealed, it was also rejected (1:9-11).
    2. Jesus is "the true Light" (1:9), but most people reject the Light. Not just the atheists, and the drunkards, and the thieves and murderers; even big CEO’s like Mr. Levin and most rich people and kings and presidents – they all reject the Light.
    3. There are seminary professors, teaching in their classrooms that Jesus is not God, that He was not born of a virgin, that He did not rise from the dead, and that He is not coming back – they have rejected the Light.
    4. These liberal views are then passed on down to their students, who eventually graduate and go off to pastor churches. Is it any wonder that most churches today are so liberal? -- "and the world knew Him not" (1:10b). Even many who profess to be born again Christians have never truly been saved – they do not know the Lord.
    5. It is pride and stubbornness that keeps many people from humbling themselves and trusting Christ.
    6. There is a story in Aesop’s Fables called "The Oak and the Reeds." A very large oak was uprooted by a strong wind and thrown across a stream. It fell among some reeds, and said to them: "I wonder how you, who are light and weak, are not entirely crushed by these strong winds." They replied, "You fight and contend with the wind, and consequently you are destroyed; while we on the contrary, bend before the least breath of air, and therefore remain unbroken, and escape." As Spurgeon said: "We must either bend or break; and blessed are they who know how to bend in submission to the will of God."
    7. The Lord Jesus Christ created this world, with all of its beauty – its mountains and rivers and canyons and forests; the sun, moon, and the stars – and yet man fails to recognize this. John says they "knew Him not" (1:10).
    8. Paul says they are without excuse (Rom.1:19,20).
    9. "He came unto His own (i.e., the Jewish people), and His own received Him not" (1:11). They are caught up in their traditions and rituals and rules and so on, but they have rejected their Messiah – they have rejected the Light.



    1. To preach that the Light was revealed, and the Light was rejected – and to stop there would be inappropriate. Another humorous fable from Aesop is called "The Boy Bathing." The boy was out bathing in a river and was in danger of drowning. He called out to a stranger who was passing by – "Help! Help!" Instead of extending a helping hand, the man just stood there and scolded him for his carelessness. "Oh, sir!" the boy cried, "please help me now, and scold me later."
    2. So I do not want to stop at this point in my message today. After the sadness of 1:11 comes the gladness of 1:12.
    3. The grammatical construction of 1:12 serves to point out that receiving and believing are equivalent terms. If you have received Christ, then you have believed on His name. If you have believed on His name, then you have received Him.
    4. His "name" signifies His entire person, what He stands for, what He represents (cf. John 15:20,21; Acts 4:12).
    5. This verse teaches an unlimited atonement – "But as many…"
    6. It indicates the simplicity of salvation – "as received Him." It is simple, beyond anything man could devise; and yet profound, beyond anything man can fully comprehend.
    7. This verse also teaches the surety of our sonship – "gave He power to become the sons of God…" This is the only way to become a son of God. It is not by baptism, not by church membership, and not by good works.
    8. 1:12,13 describe the new birth, which is absolutely essential (cf. John 3:3,7).
    9. A.T. Pierson defined the new birth this way: "It is spiritually beginning life again, and in a different fashion; beginning to experience new joys and motives in the soul; starting on a new walk, from a new beginning to a new termination by a new path; having new life in God. That is the new birth."
    10. Have you experienced this in your life? I have explained what the new birth is – let me try and explain what it is not.
    11. It is "not of blood" (1:13) – not by natural birth. Christian parents do not automatically produce Christian children. Your father may have been a preacher and your mother might have been a Sunday School teacher – but that is no guarantee that you will go to heaven.
    12. It is not "the will of the flesh" (1:13) – no man has the power in his own flesh to regenerate himself, to produce the new birth. A sinner may be willing to be saved, but that in itself is not enough to save him.
    13. Harry Ironside used to tell of a man who went around dressed up as a soldier but it was discovered that he never was in the army. He just bought the uniform somewhere. There are many people like that in church – they walk around saying that they are Christians, but have never really been born again.
    14. Nor is it "the will of man" (1:13) – no other person can save you. As a preacher of the Gospel, I am burdened for souls, but my burden and my zeal and my prayers and my exhortations can never save anyone – it is not "the will of man, but of God" (1:13).
    15. It is God alone who regenerates; it is God alone who saves.


  1. In Exodus 25:31, we read of "a candlestick of pure gold" that lit up the tabernacle of God. In fact, this light never went out.
  2. The pure gold represented the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible says, "of beaten work shall the candlestick be made" (Ex.25:31). This too pictures Christ, who "was wounded for our transgressions" and "bruised for our iniquities" (Isa.53:5).
  3. Then in the last book of the Bible, in Rev.21:23, we read that there will be no need for the sun in the New Jerusalem, because "the Lamb is the light thereof."
  4. Have you responded to this heavenly Light? This True Light? Have you received this Light? If not, let me urge you to do so now without delay.

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